How the Fair Housing Act Failed Black Homeowners []


“Sue the bastards.”

That was the slogan adopted by the National Neighborsadvocacy campaign for fair housing in 1970, two years after Congress passed the Fair Housing Act. At long last, black home buyers and renters were able to seek and find justice in the courts, in part because it was possible to demonstrate racially discriminatory practices among landlords and real-estate companies. President Donald Trump made his public debut in 1973 as just such a landlord, sued by the Department of Justice for discriminating against black tenants.

It was harder to sue the bastards when they were banks. Among the many provisions of the Fair Housing Act, the most difficult to enforce were the sanctions on lending. While private actors could test a landlord’s willingness to rent to a black applicant versus a white applicant, it was much harder to suss out discrimination in mortgage origination.

[For more on this story by KRISTON CAPPS KATE RABINOWITZ, go to]

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